Frowning on the government’s move to amend the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010, some environment conscious groups of the city have observed that the government is attempting to dilute the provisions by presenting amended draft rule 2016. Having come to the conclusion that there was hardly any seriousness on environmental issues regardless of the government at the Centre, they said that since formation of the rules in 2010, not a single wetland has been identified by the government in past five years. “Our concern that what led the government to the decision of amending the existing rule, specially when nothing serious was done in all these years for identification and protections of the wetlands,” said Sanjeet Purohit, managing trustee of LIBRA India. According to the environmentalists working for the protection of wetlands, 14.5% land of the country is wetland, where 40% flora and fauna of the country survive but in these five years no brief document on the wetlands has been submitted to the Central government by any state except Orissa, which too has been rejected. In a joint dialogue of LIBRA India, LIFE and ERC with a view to prepare draft suggestions on the proposed amended draft here, it was stated that even the Central Wetland Regulatory Authority, proposed to be constituted in 2010 Rules, was not functional at present as its tenure had already expired on March 31 last year. Drawing attention to the apathy towards wetlands in the country, a scientist from Zoological Survey of India, Sanjeev Kumar, said, that there is no instrument today to stop any kind of threatening activity on the wetlands in the country. “Unless there were strict penalty provisions, the wetlands could not be protected,” said Kumar, adding it was a serious matter and if attention was not given in time to protecting the existing 26 wetlands and further identification of new wetlands, we would be losing about 40% flora and fauna found in the country. “A wetland has a unique life succession process around and in it and the size of each wetland should be determined with respect to the life there, which should be self-regulatory,” he said. Participants also emphasized the need of delegating the responsibility to the states for protection and identification of the wetlands in their respective states with Union government confined to framing of laws and resolving interstate issues.

2016 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.